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Preparing for a Career in Optometry

“Doctors of Optometry (ODs) are the primary health care professionals for the eye. Optometrists examine, diagnose, treat and manage diseases, injuries, and disorders of the visual system, the eye and associated structures as well as identify related systemic conditions affecting the eye.”

– (American Optometric Association website

In addition to prescribing and fitting glasses and contact lenses, optometrists are trained to evaluate and treat visual conditions. These may include corneal ulcers, glaucoma, spatial perception problems, complications of injuries, and a variety of other visual impairments. Some systemic diseases, including hypertension and diabetes, are often first detected in the eye. Optometrists may work in private practice, in consultation with opthalmologists, in retail, in the military, or in academic or industrial research positions.

There is considerable variation in prerequisites among Schools of Optometry. Specifics for 21 schools in the United States can be found at: The Association of Schools and Colleges of Optometry

Typical Prerequisites:

  • Biology with lab – 1 semester
  • General Chemistry with labs – 2 semesters
  • Physiology with Anatomy – 2 semesters
  • Organic Chemistry with lab – 2 semesters (1 semester of lab)
  • Biochemistry – 1 semester
  • Microbiology – 1 semester
  • Physics with lab – 2 semesters
  • Calculus (MA 125) – 1 semester
  • Statistics – 1 semester
  • English – 2 semesters
  • Psychology – 1 semester
  • Experience or exposure to the field of optometry
  • Completion of the Optometry Admissions Test (OAT)
  • All optometry schools in the U.S. participate in a centralized application service, OptomCAS (

For further information on this field, visit the Association of Schools and Colleges of Optometry: